Story Synopsis:As the youngest and only female member of the Knights Templar, Bilquis SanGreal grew up knowing she wasn’t normal. Instead of hanging out at the mall or going on dates, she spends her time training as a soldier in her order’s ancient battle against the Unholy. Billi’s cloistered life is blasted apart when her childhood friend, Kay, returns from Jerusalem, gorgeous and with a dangerous chip on his shoulder. He’s ready to reclaim his place in Billi’s life, but she’s met someone new: amber-eyed Michael, who seems to understand her like no one else, effortlessly claiming a stake in her heart. But the Templars are called to duty before Billi can enjoy the pleasant new twist to her life. One of the order’s ancient enemies has resurfaced, searching for a treasure that the Templars have protected for hundreds of years -- a cursed mirror powerful enough to kill all of London’s firstborn. To save her city from catastrophe, Billi will have to put her heart aside and make sacrifices greater than any of the Templars could have imagined.
My Review:I'm a fan of a great beginning and this book has one of the best beginnings I've read. The first chapter opens with action done well, and I found myself caring about Billi and curious about her life right away. It's well-written, action-packed, and the Templar angle adds a freshness to the story. As a warrior, Billi San Greal is kick ass, and I thought her fighting and action scenes were great. It was easy to become completely immersed in them.
However, I had difficulty bonding with Billi's character at times, especially around her relationships with Kay, her father, and Michael. This lack of bonding could be partly due to voice (it's written in third person), but I think it has more to do with this unconscious sense I get when I'm reading a young female protagonist written by a male author. Not to be gender-biased, because I believe some authors are able to cross genders well. I simply didn't feel her the way I normally feel a female character I'm reading about.
It could be because I found the love story lacked a certain chemistry, and I found myself wishing for more romance. This was my personal preference. However, overall, I found the novel to be very well-written and its pacing as a young adult novel was excellent. It's a great story, well executed.